"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #92308 posted on 06/08/2019 6 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

There are a few people I've met that seem to have this incredible ability to make everyone they talk to feel funny, interesting and important. I would like very much to be one of those people, but I'm not sure how. I've always tried to be kind to the people around me, and liberal about expressing my appreciation for my friends. I'm as supportive and interested in my friends' lives as I know how to be, and I think I do a pretty decent job of it. I'm generally a good friend. But it's not quite the same as these people who just seem to naturally boost everyone's mood and self-esteem the moment they enter the room.

(As a side note, these people also tend to be very good conversationalists. I don't know if that's a cause of, an effect of, or just randomly correlated with their other natural social ability, but I thought it was worth mentioning.)

How can I level up?

- Almost acceptable

A:

Dear Almost acceptable,

I don't fancy myself to be one of these people exactly, but I am a fairly excellent listener. It's all about being present and focusing on the other person. It isn't about compliments exactly or about buttering someone up. It is about showing with your body language, your face, your relaxed nature, and often your lack of response that you care what that person is saying, that they are worth your energy and your time. It's about remembering little details and referencing them later to tie the conversation together. It's about not bringing yourself up but doing what you can to support that person in the conversation. Set them up to make a joke here and then. Validate them while withholding advice. Listen to their emotions more than their words and respond to those most of all. Most importantly, withhold judgment and remember that every person has their reasons to do what they do, and if the reasons weren't good they wouldn't have done it, no matter how bad a choice it was. Even if you can't understand what the reasons were or they can't understand. Clearly there was a strong motivation. Then respond to them with that level of respect and dignity and willingness to understand.

- The Black Sheep

A:

Dear exactly enough—

A few thoughts.

As pointed out by Goose Girl below—you're doing great. Everything you listed is on point, and you may have to just trust that others perceive you as far more emotionally generous and connected than you're able to perceive yourself. You may be less flashy than some others who "light up a room," but that doesn't make you a level down. We need the quiet connectors perhaps even more deeply than we need the surface lifters.

If I may share a personal story that I believe I've shared on the Board before: there was a time in college when I considered it my personal mission to use conversation and listening as my Christlike service. I took this to mean that I should not talk about myself at all unless directly asked, and that I should ask other people about themselves constantly and listen intently. The result? I got weird. My conversations ended up stilted and unnatural. I was uncomfortable to be with. Nobody felt all the Christlike love I was trying to laserbeam at them.

So I let go and stopped trying so hard. I learned to trust myself to care about other people effortlessly and to trust that it was okay that they cared about me back. I realized that connection was more about relating and facilitating back-and-forth than it was about me caring as intensely as possible. Things got much better after that. I still naturally tend to fall into the listener role, and that's okay, but I take up space when I want to, and my relationships are now more reciprocal and truly shared. The way relationships should be. 

You're doing well. It's okay to let yourself be exactly who you are.

In solidarity,
Waldorf (& Sauron) 

A:

Hello acceptable one,

Here are my recommend steps. I want to note that this is an ongoing process and you ping back and forth between them. But these are the simple (though not easy, simple and easy are not mutually inexclusive) steps:

  • Actually be interested in basically all types of things, or at least be able to empathize with that interest, or pretend to be interesting at the least
  • Learn about the different types of people that typically like those interests. For example, some women like guns, hunting, big trucks, and MMA, but generally it's going to be men who like those things, and it will be typically tied up with masculinity. This applies to age, region, religion, politics, and other demographics.
  • A miscellaneous note: if you still don't get why people like a thing, find a forum or reddit sub where people talk about the stuff for real. Twitter or Reddit NBA talk, for example, is vastly different from what is on TV or what you typically overhear in a restaurant or office.

Once you understand all the different stuff and the different people, and know a little about all of it, most of the rest comes naturally considering the talents and abilities you say that you already have. Sincerity is the first part. Having something to say and questions to ask is the second. That covers most of it right?

Best to you on your quest,

Toasteroven

A:

Dear yosef,

I don't know if this will help, but I've enjoyed a lot of videos from Charisma on Command on YouTube. A lot of the titles and thumbnails seem a little gimmicky, but I think the content is actually pretty good. For instance, one video focused on some interviews Brie Larson did recently that didn't have the best reception. He acknowledged that in the video, but also showed other interviews in which she did do well and also gave her the benefit of the doubt a lot. He has other videos that you might want to look through, depending on your interests. 

Good luck! 

-Auto Surf

A:

Dear you,

I don't know you, so I don't know if this is applicable to your situation, but I too aspire to be one of those people and it's helped me to evaluate my motivation behind that desire. Am I doing it because I want people to have that opinion of me, or am I really doing it for their sake? It's a subtle difference, but I've found that when I realign I'm able to become more genuine and Christlike.

Just the fact that you want to lift others' lives says a lot about you, I think. For all you know, you could already be that person to some people. Which makes me want to express appreciation for all of those in my life who lift me up and make me feel important. I think we assume they know how much they mean to us, but I bet they often feel unappreciated as well.

Thanks for the thought-provoking question,

-the Goose Girl

A:

Hello Acceptable,

Ever notice how great you feel after someone asks a lot about YOU? That’s most of the secret to being engaging. Dale Carnegie also has the classic tips in “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. Highly recommend!

-a fan of his!

A:

Almost,

In my experience, the major keys are to compliment people honestly and often—which requires you to pay close attention to what people are good at—and in a professional setting, to dedicate more attention and praise to people who are socially uncomfortable. Everyone wants to be sociable and respected, and it has a cumulative effect in larger organizations when you dedicate meaningful effort to make everyone comfortable. The less socially adept will be on better footing, and the socially conscious will recognize the effort you're making for others and hopefully rally others as well.

When it comes to conversing well and making connections with people you might already know and want to befriend, the most critical thing is to find a common interest. That sounds simplistic, but it requires a lot of action. It requires you to listen and recognize the things that they're most interested in and passionate about, and it requires your time and effort to learn more about those things so it can become something that you share together. Most of my hobbies originally started as things that my close friends were interested in that I was curious enough to dig deeper into, whether for selfish reasons or to connect more positively with people I cared about.

Listen well and pay close attention to people, and then interact whenever possible. In the workplace, I know hundreds of names and faces. Of the ten or fifteen people I work most closely with, I know all of their hometowns (which often requires learning about other cities and states and cultures of many other countries), the size of their families, the names of their spouses and children, hobbies they enjoy on weekends—that sort of thing. I want to remove barriers with my closest colleagues so that they don't have to filter or clarify details often when they're talking to me. They know they can refer to their brother or sister or wife or husband or child by their first name and I'll know who they're talking about. I'll later ask about them by name in a later conversation, because I'm genuinely curious about something that may have been mentioned the last time we talked. It all gets easier as you know people longer.

Some people are going to be better than this than others, and that's okay. I know that I'm fortunate to be really good with names and details. But it is a skill at the end of the day, and when practiced regularly and deliberately, you'll find yourself improving. Every personality is different, so try new things and see what generates a positive response for you. Build from there.

Good luck!

--Gimgimno

Work has been a zoo, so this will probably be my only response this reunion, but hi and hello to all of you. I'm glad to see everything still chugging along here. I hope everyone who reads this is appreciated for the good they do in their life, and loved and accepted by the people who matter most to them. Have a great year, everyone.

A:

Dear amazing, 

What you want is a Good Thing, and the other writers have some great advice for you. But I'd also like to offer a word of caution-when I meet very excited and uplifting people for the first time, I tend to assume that they're faking it (whatever that means), and I'm often a bit wary of them until I get to know them better. I recognize that this is my problem and not theirs, but I'm usually quicker to warm to people that are a bit reserved like I am.

My point isn't that you should be more reserved or anything-just that a variety of personalities can be uplifting, and you don't need to adopt an entirely different persona to make others feel valued. You can be more loving, but you can still be you. 

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear Definitely Good Enough,

I feel like it would be egotistical for me to say that I am this kind of person, but then another writer actually asked me to answer this question because she says I am this kind of person, so take that for what you will.

Let me start by talking about my dad. If I had to compare my dad to a celebrity, it would be Mr. Rogers. He is incredibly curious about everything in the world and wants to talk to you no matter if you're 3 or 93. I have joked that you could be the Assistant City Dog Poop Scooper and he would ask you: "What is it like being the Assistant City Dog Poop Scooper?" "Are there particular techniques that make for superior scooping of dog poop?" "How is your job different from that of the City Dog Poop Scooper?"

He's not the kind of person who will only talk to the most "important" person in the room or who only talks to someone in order to try to impress them. I think the biggest thing I have internalized from him is that everyone is worth talking to and treating like a valuable human being. In addition to growing up with him as a role model, I've also spent a lot of time analyzing my own conversations and thinking about what does and doesn't work when I'm talking to people. (People who know me might be surprised to hear that, because it may seem that my conversational style is natural or easy. There are certainly parts of it that have become second nature, but I really put a lot of thought into how I interact with people.)

First, I'd say it starts with curiosity. People find it hard to resist opening up if someone is expressing genuine interest in their life or hobbies or experiences. However (as Waldorf pointed out above), if you're faking being interested in someone, it comes off as weird or unnatural and people can tell the difference. In my life, I take that to mean that I'm allowed to have days when I'm not "on" all the time. If I'm tired or upset or feeling introverted, I don't have to try to make everyone happy or be the life of the party. I would rather not strike up a conversation than pretend to care about someone if I really don't in that moment.

Second, you need to ask questions that will encourage people to open up. This is where a slight change in wording can make a surprisingly big difference. Asking someone "How are you doing?" does not, in my experience, actually encourage them to tell me how they're doing. This is because that phrase is often used (in American English) as a set greeting and not a genuine expression of interest. Consequently, if you hear someone say "How are you doing?", you don't have enough information to know if they're asking a genuine question or using a set greeting, and so people tend to respond with a set answer like "Fine."

However, if you ask someone about how they're doing, but phrase it in a different or more specific way, such as "How is your week / month / summer going?", you're much more likely to get a genuine answer, because (1) you're not using a set phrase, so it's clear that you mean it as an actual question and (2) you've narrowed down the question in such a way that it's easier to get a handle on the answer. I've learned all kinds of interesting things about people just by using variations of this type of question. And sometimes people will still give a pretty basic answer that more or less shuts down the conversation. That's OK. (Just because you're in the mood to talk, that doesn't mean that they are.) But if you give people frequent opportunities to answer this type of question, my experience is that a lot of people will take advantage of that.

Third, learn to use small talk effectively. I know people who really hate small talk because they think it's pointless. I like to think of a conversation like a climbing wall, where the top of the wall is a really deep and profound discussion and the bottom of the wall is small talk. In this metaphor, small talk isn't an amazing conversational achievement in and of itself (in the same way that climbing 20 inches off the ground isn't that exciting), but it is a toehold that you can use to climb to a more interesting / personal conversation. What you have to do, though, is pay close attention to what people say in order to find those toeholds.

For example, you've had a big snowstorm over the weekend, and on Monday you find yourself making small talk with a coworker you don't know very well. You say: "How about that storm over the weekend?" They say: "Well, when I lived in Maine, it snowed like this all winter, so this doesn't seem like much to me." See the toehold? " . . . when I lived in Maine . . ." You've started with a pretty generic small talk conversation about the weather, but your coworker has dropped some extra information that you can use to take the conversation in a more personal direction. "Where in Maine did you live?" "What was it like there?" "Why did you move there / move here?" In just a couple more questions, you'll probably be learning a lot more about your coworker or Maine or both, all because you made a generic comment about the weather and then listened carefully to the response.

(Incidentally, I'll often drop potential "toeholds" into my small talk answers to gauge how interested the other person is in the conversation. If someone picks up on them, I feel like I can share more about my life. If not, I'll probably keep the conversation pretty basic. That doesn't make them a bad person—they could be tired or busy or just not good at picking up conversational cues—but I don't tend to like opening up to people who I think don't really care about me.)

Fourth, make connections and follow up. So, this is supposed to be a conversation, not an interview, which means that you need to be participating in the conversation, not just asking question. The best way of doing this is to make some kind of connection based on what you've just learned about them. Did you have the same major in college? Is your mom from their hometown? Do you have the same hobby? Making connections also allows you to give them "toeholds" that they can use to ask you about your life. However, making connection can be pretty tough. After over a decade of working at universities, I have come to accept that I just don't have anything interesting to say about some majors. Remember, you don't have to have the perfect question or response in every situation; you just have to keep looking for toeholds.

Following up on previous conversations is another great skill. Did your coworker mention yesterday that they were going to an adult ballet class that night? Ask them how the class went! Or how the movie they saw was. Or whether they liked the new kind of sushi they got for lunch. We tend to be good at following up on big life events like weddings or international vacations, but I think that it can be even more important to follow up on small things when it comes to making human connections.

Lastly, learn how to end a conversation. I think one of the main reasons I don't mind small talk is that I'm pretty good at ending a conversation when I want to, which means that I don't worry about getting stuck in pointless conversations with no escape. One of my favorite ways to end a conversation is by recapping something that we talked about. So, if I strike up a conversation with a student at finals week, I'll end the conversation by saying "Good luck on your finals!" It's a good way to signal that you want to be done, but it also leaves them with a kind thought. (Especially if you're chatting with a stranger, I've found that people really appreciate it when someone stops for a moment to learn about their life and wish them well.)

 

Odds and ends:

- One of the pitfalls(?) of being good at small talk is that you can end up being the only person driving the conversation. Due to a miscommunication, I once ended up in the unusual situation of having to make small talk with a new visiting teacher for a full hour while we waited for her companion to show up. (Spoiler: She never did.) Although this woman was happy to answer my small talk questions about where she was from and how she came to move into our ward, she asked me no similar questions in return and made no effort to keep the conversation going (other than answering my questions). By the end of the hour, she felt that we had had a great conversation and I felt exhausted. It's not the only time I've found myself in the position of feeling like I'm doing all the work in a conversation and I won't lie, it's a pretty lonely situation.

- Pay attention to time and situation. If there are 20 people behind you in line, that is not the time to ask the cashier about her life goals. Likewise, if the other person is pressed for time, maybe you can't have an interesting conversation right now. I have a lot of interesting conversations with people every week, and I also have a lot of really mundane conversations. I still try to be present and thoughtful in my more mundane interactions (make eye contact, say thank you), but I'm not hitting home runs every time.

- Just because I'm curious about people and good at small talk, that doesn't mean I don't get bored in conversations. I try to be patient with the other person and still pay attention, but that can also be a clue that it's time for me to try to end the conversation. (I only bring this up because if you're trying to be someone who is interested in other people, but you find yourself bored in a conversation, that doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you. It happens.)

- We are all human beings and human beings are biased. This means that you can have the best of intentions and unwittingly reinforce racist, sexist, ableist, or other biased structures. Telling a black person they're "articulate" is not a compliment. Asking a brown person where they're "from" is not a neutral question. Asking a woman about her children (and nothing else) is not taking a real interest in her life. Take the opportunity to read up on common conversational pitfalls and find ways to move beyond those loaded questions.

- One of my mottos in life is "Don't ask the question if you can't handle the answer." To illustrate, I recently sat by a coworker as we waited for a meeting to begin. She asked how I was doing and I responded by telling her all about how my phone had unexpectedly died. Then I asked how her month was going and she paused for a second, then said "Well, I got divorced." Gentle reader, I did not expect that response and I had no idea what to say. (Plus, I felt pretty selfish for whining about my dead phone!) She didn't seem to want to talk about it more at the time, plus the meeting was starting, so the conversation kind of ended there, but a few days later I stopped by her office with some flowers and we ended up talking for about an hour. Ultimately, if you ask people personal questions, you will sometimes get sad or awkward answers. Avoid the temptation to minimize the situation or to try to fix it in the moment. Learn to say something validating like "That sounds really tough" and try to gauge if they want to talk about it or if you should carefully guide the conversation past the topic. (This can really hard to figure out and I am far from perfect at it.)

- Along the same lines, if you have enough conversations with people, you will inevitably put your foot in your mouth. This doesn't make you a terrible person or someone who should give up on talking to people, it just means that you were trying, and sometimes trying means failing. Do apologize frankly if you say something offensive enough to warrant it, but otherwise try not to dwell on it. I'm generally pretty good at talking to people, but I've put my foot in my mouth more times than I can count. I try to learn from the situation so that I don't make the mistake again and just move on otherwise.

- Lastly, even if you put these techniques into action, you may not end up exactly being the sparkly, mood-enhancing person you admire. Personality, aptitude, and other factors also play a huge role into how we interact with other people. To bring things back to my dad, he and I share an interest in talking to people about their lives, but we have significantly different personalities. I am the witty comedian of the family while he is just not funny. (Like, it's actually a family joke that he can't tell a joke.) He can't be me and I can't be him, but we can both be people who show love to other with our talent / skill of taking genuine interest in their lives. You may or may not ever be the person who lights up an entire room, but it's equally important to be the person who notices someone standing apart from the group and heads over to have a quiet conversation. Trust me, they won't forget it.

Cheers,

Katya

Question #92294 posted on 06/08/2019 5:35 p.m.
Q:

Dear El-ahrairah,

Did you watch the Netflix adaptation of Watership Down? If so, what did you think?

-Bigwig

A:

Dear Bigwig,

I was really excited for this, but hadn't seen it yet. I only ended up watching the first episode this week, but I liked it! It was exciting and the El-ahrairah storytelling scenes were nice. It's been several years since I read the book, so I don't remember all the details, but the first episode seemed to follow the book closely enough. I liked how it was easier to tell the characters apart (I mean, they all looked like rabbits, but they did have different shades). So I will definitely be finishing it soon.

-El-ahrairah

Question #92324 posted on 06/08/2019 3:12 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

If you could be any already-dead historical figure, who would you be? Why?

-Herodotus

A:

Hello Kitty,

None of them because they're all dead.

-M.O.D.A.Q.

A:

Dear friend,

You'd think I would say Van Gogh, right? But as someone who's been exposed to enough biographies and documentaries about him (not to mention his surviving letters), I know that his life was pretty miserable–in part because he lived in a time when mental health care was in its infancy. So while I admire him so much, I wouldn't want to be him.

That being said, maybe Walt Whitman or something. He seemed happy, rolling around in the grass and yawping and such.

-Van Goff

A:

Dear Historical,

Saladin. I don't remember all the details, but when he captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders he was super generous in his victory. The Crusaders, on the other hand, were not.

-El-ahrairah

A:

Dear Hero

I would be Neil Armstrong hands down. He was the first man on the moon, an amazing navy test pilot, an engineering professor, and he was played by Ryan Gosling in First Man. Coolest dude ever.

Peace,

Tipperary

A:

Dear Herodotus:

Just did a full relisten to Hamilton. So many choices! I am going to have to choose Angelica Schuyler Church. I mean, "American Socialite" as my occupation? Heck yes. Wealthy parents, wealthy husband, living in Paris, corresponding with Alexander Hamilton semi-flirtatiously? I think I'm living my best life. 

She only lived to age 58, but lived a very full life, which is infinitely preferable to the alternative, in my view.

---Portia, the oldest and the wittiest

Question #92316 posted on 06/08/2019 3:12 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Has a student ever given a devotional at BYU?

-Curious George

A:

Dear cat killer,

Signs point to no.

I looked at every year on this page, which filters all BYU speeches by type. I admit I was not very thorough, skipping general authorities I recognized and usually only clicking on those I thought most likely to be students. There are athletic directors, creative directors, librarians, coaches, general counsels, former football stars, the artistic director of Living Legends, the CEO of The Art of Significance Leadership Development Corporation, a member of the International Team of Translators of the Dead Sea Scrolls, instructors (as opposed to professors), assistant lecturers, and a part-time instructor. I even found a devotional by Francis Fukuyama, who as far as I can tell is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which I didn't think was ever done. But none are listed as students. And Katya confirmed this—devotionals seem to be given by non-students by definition. But students do speak at graduation and possibly other functions.

-El-ahrairah

Question #92315 posted on 06/08/2019 10:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear Dragon Lady,

About a year ago I accidentally started reading some Harry Potter fan fiction: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. I say "accidentally" because I thought I would just casually glance at it out of curiosity, and did not realize until too late that I was stepping into a very, very long novel. It also didn't register as "fan fiction" for me for quite a while, because "fan fiction" sounds, you know... lame. Poor quality. Embarrassing. But this book, surprisingly, was very well written, original, thought-provoking, and incredibly fun and enjoyable to read. It showed Draco as a much more real and complex person, it explained Slytherin house (and the other houses) in a much more 3-dimensional way, it showed magic from new perspectives, and it reimagined some characters in really fun and interesting ways. While also teaching logic and rationality along the way. If you can get past the fact that Harry Potter is essentially a different Harry Potter, I think it's a great book.

So, the question is, have you read it? And if so, what did you think?
Or if you haven't read it, would you?

-Pear

A:

Dear Pear ~

I have heard many people rave about it. I have not read it. Possibly because of the length. Possibly because even the movies have disappointed my purist nature, so why invest so much time into something that might do the same? (Seriously. Being a purist can be difficult.) 

That said, I like that it explains Slytherin house better. I'm constantly trying to convince people that good people can be in Slytherin, too, and that the house isn't all bad. We just see it from Harry's perspective, so it looks like it.

To answer your question, I have not read it. Maybe someday I will, but it's not currently on my to read list.

Sorry to disappoint.

~ Dragon Lady

A:

Dear Pear (deer peer? dare pare?),

You could say that I also "accidentally" started reading HPMOR. Like I mentioned in Board Question #92282, another alumni recommended it, so I looked it up and started reading it. It was only the second fan fiction I've ever read, so I was also not prepared for the sheer magnitude of it. Unlike that other answer, this one will contain SPOILERS, so other readers beware if that's a thing you care about. In general, I like how the politics, lore, and magical mechanics or the Harry Potter universe are fleshed out 3904852% better than in anything Rowling has written. Where things are not explained, at least we get an acknowledgement of that fact. Yeah, it's not canon, but it make sense, so I like it. However, there were some things I didn't like that much too.

Things I liked:

  • Harry and Quirrell acknowledged that Voldemort was a really dumb villain who didn't make any sense and that the Ministry had to have been incredibly incompetent not to deal with him properly.
  • The focus on transfiguration - its impermanence and the rules that result from that, Harry's research into partial transfiguration, and true power of the Philosopher's Stone - is super interesting, because usually the focus in Harry Potter books is on DADA and potions.
  • Draco says and does terrible things, but Harry recognizes that it's because his father is a terrible person and tries to be a good influence on him instead of blaming every bad thing that happens on him.
  • As you said, the characteristics of each house are presented in a more three-dimensional way. Along the same lines, we get a fresh perspective on the motivations behind each character, and the story plays out in a way that's consistent with that.

Things I didn't like so much:

  • More than anything, I didn't like it when Hermione died. It felt awful, and it led Harry to do a lot of things that I wish he hadn't had to do. 
  • I also didn't love that Hermione was brought back. Or maybe what I didn't like was the way she was revived.
  • It was pretty obvious that Quirrell was Bad News, but Harry kept working with him. Hermione kept telling him that he was obviously evil, and Harry definitely realized that himself when they went to Azkaban, but he cared too much about what he could learn from him and I didn't like that.

The things I didn't like didn't make it badly written or less recommendable, I just didn't feel good when I read them. Overall, it was an interesting read and definitely changed my mind about what fan fiction can be.

-The Entomophagist

A:

Dear Pear,

I've read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality twice now. Despite it being nearly 2,000 pages long, my first read-through only took 8 days. Needless to say, I did not sleep well. I think I still went to class, but barely.

Recently, I read it again, four years later, and it was just as wonderfully crafted, refreshingly intelligent, and loads of fun.

I love that it takes the amazing world of Harry Potter and makes it make sense. The magic and the motivations behind the characters are so much more fleshed out. And Harry's passion for all things nerdy is infectious. He is so different in this one (for reasons eventually explained), and I enjoyed the character. My only real complaint about the story is that the writing is slightly glib at times, especially in the beginning. Though mostly it's just for fun, and the tone shifts as the story goes. Things get heavy, and some of the character development is really impactful.

SPOILERS BELOW

The part where they fight in Ender's Game-style armies is awesome. This is nerdy Harry at his finest. There's so many pop culture references throughout the story and a lot of them are just brilliant.

Seventh-year Tonks is SO COOL.

Time-Turners actually matter. Throwaway Charms get used frequently because they're actually super useful. So much is explored that could easily be overlooked.

I really liked how even though Harry is extremely intelligent, he still struggles with making a lot of mistakes along the way. A lot of mistakes. He has much to learn, and it's fascinating to watch him fight against his nature and learn some important lessons.

I respect that Ento didn't like the death he mentions above, but for me that was one of the most impactful moments in all of literature. Most fiction puts us in a bubble of safety, where you know nothing TOO bad can happen, and suddenly my bubble was popped. I've been craving that level of realness from my media ever since.

I realize that I love this story too much to give anything other than a glowing review. I'm overlooking a few faults, I know. But if you're ever going to read a fanfiction, read this one. It builds on the Harry Potter world we love in such a wonderful way, and it introduces some powerful new perspectives.

-Kirito

Question #92309 posted on 06/08/2019 10:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I recently watched God's Not Dead, and it got me wondering. Of what I have seen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints isn't as interfaith as other churches. We'll sometimes do interfaith events, but I feel that other churches do more of this. Although we strongly encourage members of our own religion to develop stronger faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, I'm not sure how much we as individuals do to help promote and strengthen others' beliefs.
My question is how I as an individual can do a better job to help strengthen my friends' and others' beliefs in God and in their religion. Theism seems to be growing less popular, and theists and atheists seem to be growing more polarized or at least presented as such publicly. I feel that it is important for me to help others in this regard, when my religious efforts aren't related to my own religion or to missionary work. What can I do and what is helpful for someone who is seriously questioning their beliefs?

-Inklings

A:

Dear Mr. Lewis,

As a religious person, those are tough things to deal with. I don't know that I have answers for all of them but think that we don't have to see atheists as polarized or "enemies to faith" in any way. Tally M.'s answer below reminded me of the anecdote about why God created atheists:

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(source)

Having a faith crisis can be isolating, especially because so many of us rely or relied on our faith groups as a source of community. For that reason, I think one of the more helpful things we can do for people in this situation is listen to them and show them compassion. Helping them sort out their thoughts about religion and help them find closure in some way could help them work through the crisis and make it clear to them that you still love and care about them no matter what.

-Van Goff

A:

Dear Silence,

There's an ask reddit thread that I feel is pertinent:

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There's a lot of good to be taken from both sides, so I think embracing that good is one of the first steps.

-Tally M.

Question #92270 posted on 06/08/2019 10:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How would you feel about it and what would have been some of your response actions in your life if your parents had given you the middle name Chewbacca?

-rqa

A:

Dear R. "Q-bacca" A., 

As soon as I understood who Chewbacca was, I would be ecstatic. I would go brag to all my friends and they would all be heckin' jealous, because that's how little kids are. Some of the jealous kids would make fun of me, but it wouldn't get to my head until I was a little older... I would start to realize that it was weird and nerdy, and I'd probably ask my parents why they did that to me. I would be insecure about it and wouldn't talk about it as much. I probably would joke about it sometimes. Then, in high school I would have a 'Force Awakens' moment with my identity and I would think it was cool again. Then, when I went to college and met my handsome man I would explain it to him, he would instantly be won over. Then, when I got married I'd remove it from my name and make my maiden name my middle name. I'd rather be normal, honestly. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear rqa ~

Well, my parents didn't give me a middle name, and I always resented that. My name doesn't really lend itself well to a middle name, though, so my mom would always ask, "Well, what middle name should we have given you?" I would answer that ANY middle name was better than none. So if I'm going to stick with my teenage rebellion, I'm going to say I would have had to be ok with it.

But maybe I should admit that my teenage self wasn't always the brightest crayon in the box. I think now I would be mortified.

Then again, Yellow really loves Star Wars, and I've only seen them once. So maybe had I been named after a character, I would have watched them more as a child and would have been able to share that love with him. 

Guess we'll never know, will we?

~ Dragon Lady

A:

Dear you, 

Well my middle name is the first name of an animated lobster, so there's that*...so I guess it wouldn't be too bad.

-Sunday Night Banter

* My parents didn't name me after the animated lobster, it just so happened that this cartoon became very famous during junior high school and I got teased for days.

A:

Dear RQA,

My parents did actually get my first name from a major science fiction franchise. Thankfully it is not Chewbacca. 

I never really mentioned it to anyone as a child, but now it's a cool anecdote as an adult whenever anyone comments on my name.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear person,

I would have been glad because I really don't like my first name and always complained about not having a middle name.

-Sheebs

Question #92323 posted on 06/08/2019 8:24 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Feed and Seed,

Sneed? I don't get it.

-Formerly Chuck

A:

Dear Lorax,

It's pronounced "thneed," and everybody needs one.

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(source)

-Van Goff

Question #92322 posted on 06/08/2019 2:54 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

If Finding Nemo was scientifically accurate, Nemo's dad would have become female after Nemo's mom died.

Then he would have mated with his son.

How does it make wou feel?

-Anonymous, No. 111547091

A:

Dear you,

*shivers*

-Sunday Night Banter

P.S. Nature is freakin' awesome!

A:

Dear anon,

If Finding Nemo were scientifically accurate, every character would be dead and the entire movie would be a silent bleached graveyard because the Great Barrier Reef is undergoing an enormous mass extinction event as the result of farm runoff and ocean warming, the rate of which is accelerating even now. Similar events are happening all over the world.

We could have saved it, but a few rich people decided it would have been too expensive.

How does that make you feel?

-Cognoscente

A:

Dear everybody,

Bad. 

-Sheebs

Question #92321 posted on 06/08/2019 2:48 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Who was in the wrong: Ross or Rachel

-WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!!1!!!1+

A:

Dear Doctor,

First, yes, Ross genuinely thought they were broken up. 

But second, I would say that Ross is wholeheartedly worse than Rachel. His attempt to have an anniversary celebration AT HER OFFICE when she explicitly said she couldn't do that? Grinding pepper while she was on a call? Setting papers on fire? I wouldn't be able to handle that either.

In general, Ross treats women poorly, and it's consistently shown through the series that he believes he deserves the women he goes out with regardless of his actions.

-Tally M.

A:

Dear Break,

In that situation, Ross is in the wrong for caring about what Rachel thought. He sincerely thought they were on a break and her unforgiving reaction should’ve been enough for him to stop having such an attachment to a person who would not give him the benefit of the doubt. 

 

-theyre both the worst

Question #92320 posted on 06/08/2019 12:30 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are you, have you been, or did you get married?( Long-term relationships, also) If so, do you feel like it made you a more fulfilled or happy person, even for a while? What about a different person?

I know some of you are separated or divorced, so I'm not fishing for just one kind of answer, or some idea of resolution. But I am interested in your experience.

-Avocado Monsoon-

A:

Dear Rory,

I feel more like myself with Spectre. I have someone that I can actually completely be myself around, and it's so relieving. I don't have to put on any sort of show, and when I'm feeling bad, I can genuinely feel bad without needing to act any differently.

Honestly, the biggest benefit to being married is that it's kept me alive. I've been dealing with MDD since shortly before we got married. It's crossed my mind that had I not met, dated, and gotten married, I would not have survived the summer. It's a morbid, but comforting thought, in that I do believe I have Heavenly Parents who helped keep me alive and brought us together. Depression really takes a lot out of me, and having him around gives me more reason to live. Plus, it means that he can provide for us, and I can worry about taking care of my health rather than how many sick days I've taken.

-Tally M.

A:

Dear Guacamole Tsunami,

Getting married did not make me a happier person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, Frere Rubik. I love spending time with him. He makes me laugh, cheers me up, treats me with great kindness, and is my best friend. He has brought me a lot of happiness and I sincerely believe him to be the best person I've ever met.

However, our first year of marriage has happened to coincide with a godforsaken amount of Lemony Snicket style unfortunate events, several of which I did not handle with much grace. Due to these unforeseen and super-lame external events, I think I was actually happier while Rubik and I were just dating.

All that aside, I am off the walls grateful to be married to him every day so here are some of the biggest positive differences I’ve noticed in myself after getting married:

  • I have constant opportunities to express my love to someone I really care about. I think that having those opportunities has helped me to become more affectionate and sentimental. Also, receiving that same love back feels really nice.
  • I feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I can be as silly as I want, as crazy as I want, as quiet as I want, etc. without feeling self-conscious.  
  • Before Rubik, there were a lot of things about my life that I just never talked about. Now that I have Rubik, I have become an open book (with him at least). We’ve been able to talk through a lot of the less-than-fun stuff from my life, and I have always left those conversations understanding myself a bit better.
  • I think I’ve become more responsible since getting married. In part this is because I feel more inclined to plan for the future when there’s someone else involved, in part it’s because I got married right after college graduation and the latter has forced me to realize that my decisions have real-world consequences and therefore I should make them carefully.
  • Finally, I very seldom feel lonely now. This is probably what I am most grateful for.

The main con of marriage is that I now experience random pangs of extreme fear for the well-being and safety of another human and sometimes those pangs turn me into a crazy person who calls Rubik in the middle of the day just to make sure he didn’t die during his lunch break.

TLDR: Having a happy marriage IS great, but life can still throw crappy stuff at you so watch out, work together, and watch Paddington 2 at least once a year.

Love,

Vienna

A:

Dear Perdita,

I have been married three times to the same person. I love being married (and, apparently, getting married). I don’t think it’s marriage, though, that makes me feel happy. Rather it’s that I have someone I feel comfortable being 100% me around and a true helpmeet. I am definitely a different person due to having lived with my husband; we have both had to make some adjustments and have had to adapt. Also, living with someone that was brought up with an entirely different world perspective and culture from that of your own kind of changes your way of thinking about a lot of things. We have differences of opinion all the time, and that’s ok as long as we can continue to respect those differences and be willing to communicate openly with one another. 

-Az

A:

Dear yosef,

I got married this January so I'm probably still in the honeymoon phase, but I do feel like it's already had a profound impact in my life. I'm not sure if I would say it made me more fulfilled or happy, even though I often feel that way. I think marriage itself doesn't necessarily do that, at least in my experience, because there are times I've felt hopeless and anxious and all the opposites of happy and fulfilled. And, like Vienna says above, life doesn't stop being difficult just because you're married. But I think it generally has brought me a greater sense of purpose, and doing things that serve that purpose help me feel more fulfilled and happy. It also softens the blow when things go wrong, because at least I'm not truly alone or purposeless or lost. 

I guess I'm a little confused at this question though, so I'm not sure exactly what answer to give. I think marriage can really be anything depending on who you're with and why you're with them. It seems to me that marriage really just amplifies an existing relationship, and that goes for both positive and negative attributes. 

Take care,

-Auto Surf 

A:

Hello Kitty,

Ahahahahahahaha no. The oceans will boil before I get married (so I guess I might be getting married pretty soon).

-M.O.D.A.Q.

A:

Dear Delicious,

I’ve been married for nearly a decade and it has absolutely made me happy to know that the person I love most wants to go in the same direction with me. It has been fulfilling to add children and professional triumphs along the way but I can say that happiness and peace of mind are very similar feelings. I have such satisfying peace of mind to know that our commitment to each other and the gospel is rock solid because there have been real trials along the way. For me, I always hoped being married would help me build and sustain the best of me and grow out of the worst. I think it’s working!

 

-Mawwiage

A:

Dear person,

Nope. But I like my life the way it is! And when I think about some of the guys I've dated/gone on dates with/had weird relationships with, I think it's probably a good thing I am still single. I've changed a lot in the past 5 years or so and have much higher expectations for men now. I don't think past me would have made a good choice.

-Sheebs

A:

Dear Guac Storm, 

I'm not married, but Pebble and I are going on 2 years now and are planning on getting married, so I figured I'd chime in. 

I like that you asked if we felt that being married/in a serious relationship made us a different person. That's easy to answer - yes. I am certain that I would not be the same person if I wasn't in a relationship. I have been supplied with a different set of opportunities and lessons than I would otherwise have had. I do find my relationship incredibly fulfilling. Instead of experiencing joy for my own life, I get to feel it for another person... and for both of us together. It's something else. My Gramps often quotes, "A love lost is better than having never loved at all." It's good advice, whether in or out of a relationship. It just reminds me to be grateful for my chance to share this part of my life with another person. You learn a lot in a serious relationship, about yourself, and about being interdependent. It's cool and sometimes overwhelming... you experience higher highs and lower lows because everything involves another person. But yes, I would say it does make me happy the majority of the time. It helps when we move on through rough patches fast because we both don't like being mad at each other. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear Avogrado's Monsoon,

It's so hard for me to say if I am "more" fulfilled or happy. I am 500%* more happy and fulfilled today than I was at age 18 (when I met my future husband), and 1000%* more happy and fulfilled today than I was at age 20 (when I got married). But I didn't really have much chance to "find myself" or anything as a young adult without being in a relationship. I'm definitely different and happier than I was prior to 20 years old; it would be surprising and bizarre if I wasn't. But it's very difficult for me to separate who I am because that's who I am from who I am because of my long-term relationship

No conclusions here, just interesting to think about!

-Mico

*Just, like, a really big number!

A:

Dear Avocado ~

I am approaching 11 years of marriage. I am definitely happier and more fulfilled. I no longer carry loneliness around like a little lost puppy. I have someone deeply invested in my well-being who can look at things objectively and help me see past my gut emotions. He is my steady pillar of strength to anchor me when my emotions send me all over the place. I deeply need other people to tell me what to do and expect me to do things. Having someone very close to me aware of my own personal goals goes a long way to helping me actually fulfill them, making me more fulfilled in general.

I have changed. I am what I call a Social Chameleon. Naturally I view things much more like Yellow does. I am far more liberal. I like fantasy a lot, particularly Brandon Sanderson. My taste for games have changed from party games to strategy board games.

~Dragon Lady

Question #92290 posted on 06/08/2019 12:24 a.m.
Q:

Dear Auto Surf,

You got married this last year! Could you share with us and please include all the cute and cheesy details?

-Tipperary

A:

Dear cuz,

I did! Thanks for asking this question so I can gush here and then be normal in my other answers. 

This time last year Señor Surf and I had matched on Mutual and been dating for a couple months. We got engaged in September, and married in January. Honestly things happened much quicker than I thought they would but I'm glad they happened how they did. Life feels more right and whole, and winter semester was kind of insane in terms of schedules and work loads, so it was nice to already be living together and whatnot so we could be sure we'd still see each other everyday. 

The wedding was great! We had the reception the night before and mainly just had food (street tacos from San Marcos, which I'm convinced is the best taqueria in Provo) and socializing for the first hour-ish, and then dancing. We didn't have the bouquet/garter toss (the former because I needed my bouquet for the next day, and the latter because it feels icky), a receiving line, or even a cake cutting, so we were a little worried that things would feel dull. I think it worked out, though, largely because the space allowed us to greet people without a line, and because Señor's family and friends are very into dance parties and I think that made others feel comfortable joining in. There were some fantastic photos of people dancing that I wanted to include here, but turns out dancing pictures really lose their magic when you have to cover people's faces. 

That night I was going to drop Sr. off at his uncle's house in Draper and then spend the night with my family about 30 minutes away, but there was so much snow that I didn't feel safe driving so I spent the night in the same house. Sr. and I made what we thought were innocent jokes to the family that we were married once it was midnight (much like that one scene from The Office), but his family did not think it was as funny as we did, and they made it very clear that we were sleeping on separate floors. Oops. 

Anyway, we did sleep on separate floors and after a family breakfast the next day, we went to the Payson Temple. I didn't have any previous attachment to the temple before*, but we liked that it was big and pretty and would likely be less busy than Salt Lake. The sealing room looked like actual heaven with the open space and the stained glass, and I'm super happy we picked it. It was a really sweet and special ceremony, too. Even if it was punctuated by one of my parents' friends (who was not invited to the sealing but missed the reception so he and his wife showed up anyway? ) giving us a small sermon on divorce that at first we thought was a joke but turns out it was serious the whole two minutes it was happening. And I know two minutes doesn't sound like a long time, but when people are lined up in the sealing room to hug you right after you got sealed, it's definitely a long time. But it did give a good story to tell, and it was still my favorite day ever. 

Now we've been married 4-ish months and it's awesome. Along with the logistical perks (i.e. no roommates, no YSA ward, more fridge space), life just as a whole feels so much better. In a romantic sense, sometimes I can just look at him and know everything will be okay, even if things are difficult in the moment. In a practical sense, it's scary and incredible to be forever-attached to someone else and daily figure out what that means, and I'm happy I get to do that with him. 

There are something I wish had been different about the wedding. I wish my hair hadn't immediately fallen out for the reception, and that it general my hair, dress, and bouquet had felt a little more my style. I wish I would've been better at organizing the invitations. I wish we had done a Just Dance number with everyone at the reception. But it's also reassuring that everything wasn't perfect for the wedding, because with all the imperfections I still loved our wedding. And I know not everything is going to be perfect in my marriage, but I love it and I'm so grateful and happy to get to be married to my favorite person. It's crazy that life continues to be so normal and difficult, but at the same time I get to be so overjoyed so often because of him. 

Anyway, that's probably enough gushing. Here's a happy picture for good measure:

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Take care,

-Auto Surf

*Now it is my favorite, and I love having the 3D model you made for us! Sorry I couldn't figure out how to orient it properly 

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